"Operation was cancelled at the last minute"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Gynaecology

(as a relative),

Today my partner was booked into East Surrey Hospital to undergo a Hysterectomy.

She arrived at the hospital for early in the morning and presented herself to the surgical admissions lounge. She put on her gown had bloods taken and was almost ready to be taken to theatre.

Unfortunately the operation was cancelled at the last minute due to a lack of beds. She found this extremely frustrating and anyone experiencing this would and furthermore the trust must have known last night there was a shortage of beds?

This is the second time her operation has been cancelled. She saw her consultant in November 2013 and he marked the operation down as urgent. The first planned operation date was in early December 2013 and was cancelled by the trust.

This was meant to be an Urgent operation but seems more like a routine non urgent procedure. In addition to this the other frustrating part is my partner is still suffering with her condition whilst the Trust plays a numbers game with its patients!

Me and my partner have children together and organising child care and booking time off work is not always very easy.

It seems in my eyes the trust offers healthcare services to the public but is unable to deliver.

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Response from Bethan Borrett, Digital Communications Manager, Communications, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear 'Annoyed Crawley Patient'

I am sorry to hear that your partner's operation had to be cancelled for the second time.

I would like to find out more about what happened, so if you could email your details to me at Bethan.Borrett@sash.nhs.uk I will ask someone to look into this and get back to you as soon as possible.

Kind Regards,


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Response from Bill Kilvington, Assistant Director for Women and Children's, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Annoyed Crawley Patient

Firstly I would like to apologise for the cancellation of your partner's operation at such short notice. This is never something we want to do to any patient but sometimes circumstances mean that we have to make these difficult decisions.

I understand your comments about being aware the night before, but unfortunately this was not the case today. We had an unexpected number of surgical emergency patients attend, as well as the high number of medically ill people that we do expect at this time of the year. First thing this morning we had to review every patient expecting non-emergency surgery, which included discussing your partner's individual situation with her consultant. Reluctantly it was agreed that the operation could not proceed when there would not be a bed in which your partner could safely recover after her operation.

We have received your formal complaint letter and this will enable is to respond personally as part of the NHS complaints process. More importantly, we will arrange for your partner to have her operation at the earliest opportunity.

Once again, I apologise for the distress that this has caused.

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Update posted by Annoyed Crawley Patient (a relative)

Dear Mr Kilvington

Thank You for your response today however we are still not satisfied with this situation.

We received a call this afternoon and have been given another appointment date for the 12th February 2014 which is exactly 4 weeks from today. In our opinion if the trust was going to make another booking at the earliest opportunity is 4 weeks acceptable?

We feel you are still playing a numbers game! My partner is still suffering daily with her condition hence why she is having the operation in the first place. Waiting another 4 weeks will not help her suffering.

Is this really acceptable protocol for a trust that wants Foundation Trust status?

Response from Bill Kilvington, Assistant Director for Women and Children's, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Annoyed Crawley Patient

Please be assured that the delay in rescheduling your partner's operation has nothing to do with targets or numbers, but the logisitics of ensuring the appropriate surgical team is available on the day.

Our scheduling team have now discussed this with your partner and explained the reasons for the wait and I understand she is now understanding of the situation.

Again, please be assured that this is not a decision that was taken lightly and we are only too aware of the distress and impact on peoples personal lives that cancellation at short notice can cause. Unfortunately we are sometimes faced with challenging situations such as this week and we have to make decisions in the best interests of all our patients.

I hope that after the 12th of February your partner will have a speedy recovery.

Best wishes

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Update posted by Annoyed Crawley Patient (a relative)

Dear Mr Kilvington,

My partner has her operation planned this week. Let’s hope this time the trust delivers what it says! This will be the third time I have booked time off work and spent money organising child care.

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